By TAIYE AGBAJE
ABUJA- Sen. Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Wednesday, asked a Federal High Court, Abuja, to dismiss a suit seeking his nullification from the 2023 general election.
Tinubu, through his counsel, Karma Fagbemi, told Justice Binta Nyako that the plaintiff; the Incorporated Trustees of Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International, was a meddlesome interloper who was neither a political party nor a candidate in the poll.
He said the plaintiff lacked locus standi (legal right) to institute the case, which invariably challenged the political party’s decision and its internal affairs.
APC lawyer, Ibrahim Audu, also spoke in the same vein.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the group had sued the INEC chairman, the APC and Mr Tinubu as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.
The group, in an originating motion on notice marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1960/22, sought an order of mandamus directing INEC to exercise its statutory power in accordance with Section 84(13) of the Electoral Act 2022 to immediately expunge Tinubu’s name from its final list of presidential candidates contesting the 2023 poll.
The group alluded its ground to the failure of the APC to comply with the mandatory provisions of Section 91(3) of Electoral Act 2022 which stipulates that a political party shall not receive any contribution of cash or kind exceeding N50 million without showing the source of the contribution to INEC, among others
But Tinubu, in a preliminary objection filed by his lead counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, prayed the court to dismiss the suit for being incompetent.
Giving a 14-ground argument, the lawyer said the subject matter of the suit was a challenge of his client’s eligibility in contesting for the 2023 presidential election on the ground that the APC failed and/or neglected to identify the source of the N100 million which he paid for his expression of interest and nomination form.
He described the suit as non-justiciable.
Fagbemi argued that the suit was statute barred as plaintiff had failed to bring their claim against Tinubu within the 14-day period stipulated by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He said the court, therefore, lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case.
He further argued that the plaintiff’s originating process is incompetent as the nomenclature “Originating Motion on Notice” is a process appropriate for a preelection matter.
Justice Nyako fixed Jan. 27 for judgment after counsel to the plaintiff, Johnmary Jideobi; APC lawyer, Audu, and Fagbemi, who appeared for Tinubu, adopted their processes and presented their arguments for and against the suit.(NAN)